Reps seek decisive action against hospitals refusing to treat accident, gunshot victims

The House of Representatives has tasked the Federal Ministry of Health on decisive actions against hospitals and healthcare facilities refusing to treat accident or gunshot patients without a police report.

This followed the adoption of a motion by Rep. Odianosen Okojie (APC-Edo) at plenary on Tuesday in Abuja.

Earlier, Okojie said that the provisions of Section 1 of the Compulsory Treatment and Care for Victims of Gunshot Act, 2017 provides that every hospital is to receive and treat victims of gunshot wounds with or without police clearance.

According to him, the sections also state that the hospital managements are duty bound to report to the nearest police station within hours of commencing treatment on the victim.

The lawmaker said that Section 7 of the Act states that “any authority or person whose omission results in the unnecessary death of a gunshot victim shall be liable to imprisonment for five years or a fine of N500, 000.00 or both”.

Okojie said that immediate medical attention is crucial for survival and quality of life for accident or gunshot victims.

He further stated that hospitals and healthcare facilities have an ethical and legal obligation to preserve human life regardless of the circumstances.

He observed that “despite the Act providing for the compulsory treatment and care for victims of gunshots by hospitals in the country, there are rising cases of medical personnel refusing to treat victims due to absence of police reports.

“Also aware that patients requiring emergency medical treatment due to accidents or gunshot injuries usually face denial or delayed access to healthcare services if they fail to present a police report.

“Concerned that many victims of accidents or gunshots are unable to obtain a police report promptly, given the severity of their injuries, the absence of law enforcement at the scene, or other relevant factors beyond their control.

“Worried that the refusal of hospitals to treat patients without a police report is a direct violation of the principles of medical ethics, professional conduct, and the universal right of individuals to access healthcare.”